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[2006: JAN-FEB] Homecoming


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Like you thought I wasn't gonna enter? I mean come on, A challenge isn't complete without the obligetory entry from me and here's the title but more to come.

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‘There you are, been looking all over for you.’

‘I’ve been here all the time.’ He replied with a smile.

‘I should have known…you’re always out here by the lake, usually with the others its more shoot’em ups and save the world stuff in the holodeck.’ She replied sitting next to him on the ground. ‘Why aren’t you with everyone else?’

‘I came here for a little alone time.’ He said with a smile. ‘This place helps me to think.’

‘I can see why…’ She replied, absorbing the calm created by the scene. The far reaching trees of the forest seem to complement the pebbled path that separated it from the overly calm lake. The slightly overcast weather added to the mood as the early morning grey skies over shadowed everything but not enough to create a mood of unease, in short the mood was perfect.

‘I come here every once in a while because it reminds me of home a little.’

‘Why is that?’

‘This scene is exactly the same as where I grew up, except on the other side of the lake there is a cabin, I remember, every summer, we used to have a big family reunion- you know because there was so many of us, we didn’t have enough time to see each other. So we set a particular day of the year where the “Seki clan” will gather round in one place…it was amazing.’

‘Yeah…I can tell…’ She replied looking fondly at him unwittingly running her hands through is thinning blonde hair. ‘Is that where you are going to go when you leave here?’

‘Yup…this is it…this is where we’re going to have my homecoming…’

‘Sounds like fun…’ She smiled at him and shuddered slightly. ‘It’s freezing.’

‘Oh…’ He smiled bashfully. ‘I’ve been out here for a while now, my body must be accustomed to the cold, here take this.’ He replied taking off his jacket and wrapping it over her.

‘Oh no, no I can’t accept it; you need it more than I do.’ She protested, trying to be sensitive to his needs.

‘No…’ He smiled, staring into her eyes deliberately resting his hands on hers. ‘I insist…’

For a moment, neither moved, completely engulfed in the moment the pair edged closer, each not wanting to make the first move. Their eyes, unbreakably fixed on one and other the pair would finally speak their love for one and other, if they had been in another location, they would look no different to a couple madly in love- when suddenly an alarm on the man’s hand beeped.

‘Ah…’ He smiled politely. ‘I guess its time to go in.’

‘Oh!’ She yelled closing her eyes shut. ‘I forgot why I came in here; Nurse Dera is looking for you, time for your medication.’

‘Oh joy…’ He replied dryly as the pair stood up from their position, unwittingly taking her hand in his as they walked back into the main building if they had been in another location, they would look no different to a couple madly in love.

‘Ah! There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you.’ Yelled the head nurse. ‘Where have you been?’

‘He was out by the lake again.’

‘Are you obsessed with that place?’ Smiled Nurse Dera.

‘Only a little.’ lied Jasek.

‘Thank you Clarisse.’ The nurse bowed to the maintenance worker and led her patient away. ‘I think the Terran likes you Jasek.’

‘Why would you think that?’ Jasek asked out of hope.

‘I see the way her eyes light up every time she sees you.’

‘So? Yours do too.’ Jasek joked, causing the nurse to laugh as she led him into his room.

‘Don’t get too big headed Jasek, you are cute but not cute enough.’ the nurse said with a smile.

‘I’ll be leaving in two days…would you make sure she’s ok for me?’

‘I will take good care of her.’ Smiled the head nurse.

‘She’s new here and as yet does not fully understand our ways-

‘You worry too much, she’ll be fine, she’s in good hands…as are you Jasek.’

Jasek looked at the woman and smiled.

‘I know.’

Jasek took his medication and laid in his bed wondering what to do next, on the one hand he was nervous about leaving the place but at the same time was very excited. He picked up the deck of cards that Clarisse had replicated for him and began playing the game of “solitaire” she taught him. An old Terran game, designed to ward off boredom she said and surely enough she was right, though he never could win a game, he did however have something to pass away the time when not thinking about returning home or just how fond of Clarisse he’d become in their short time together. The Terran woman was something else, not like the Descari women he was used to, unlike the others there was something special about the Terran that he could not put his finger on, not that he would tell her of course…women like her never fell for guys like him and even if she did…it was a dream a mere fantasy, besides it did not matter anymore, he was leave that was the end of that dream nothing else could happen even if either of them wanted it. He focused his attention on the cards, trying to get that elusive last “jack” in place when suddenly a knock came at the door.

‘Come in.’

‘Hello.’ Replied the smiling face at the door, causing Jasek’s hearts to simultaneously skip a beat it was Clarisse.


‘May I come in?’

‘Please do.’

‘Playing cards?’

‘Yes, want to join in?’

‘Yes but we should play something a little more sociable, like sevens for example.

‘Never played that.’

‘I’ll teach you.’ Clarisse smiled and perched herself next to his bed.

The game was really not that interesting but Clarisse was in his company and that was all that mattered, every once in a while, he would sneak a look at her just when he thought she wasn’t looking. That was the best time to look at her he noted, when she wasn’t looking, when she was away with her thoughts was when she was most beautiful, but then again when she smiled she was just as pretty…he would miss it, he concluded, he would miss it when he was gone.

‘Cute kid.’ Clarisse sound a few moments later, indicating to a picture of a child on a padd behind him.

‘Huh?’ Jasek replied and followed her gaze. ‘That’s Lopilo, my niece.

‘May I?’ Clarisse asked and took the picture for a closer look.

‘Hang on.’ Jasek said and activated the slideshow on the padd, without warning Clarisse hopped onto the bed beside him for a closer look at the padd and at that second, Jasek could smell her, that was another thing he would miss, the smell of her hair…

‘That’s better.’

‘Umm…’ Jasek said clearing his throat. ‘This is my brother Henagar with his wife Condera, Lopilo is their daughter.’

‘What a lovely couple.’ Clarisse commented on the happy pair.

‘That’s my father Ralec and my mother Rida, this was taken six months ago…-erm ah! This was the cabin I was telling you about…‘ Jasek paused, pointing to the picture of a beautiful cabin by the woods. ‘This is where my homecoming will be.’

‘You looking forward to it?’ Clarisse asked, her beautiful eyes accelerating his heartbeats.

‘Yes indeed…it would be nice to see the family again…’ Jasek said fondly. ‘it would be nice to see the whole family again. This picture was the last time I saw my parents and-

Before Jasek could finish his sentence, Clarisse’s comm-badge chimed, with one of the doctors asking her to her him fix his computer. Clarisse smiled at him and departed. What he would not give to have her stay a moment longer, what he would not give to stay here a moment longer, he’d been at the hospital now for three years, with only two weeks left of his stay that was when she arrived. If only their time together had been longer, maybe he would have built up the courage to tell her his true feelings…but two weeks was by no means enough for such a feat. But with that said, those two valuable weeks, he would not have given them up for the universe itself.

He picked up the padd and looked at the picture of Henagar and wondered what he would make of her. With a smile, he concluded Henagar would have approved of her as a second knock came on the door.

‘Come in.’ Jasek said excitedly as he was expecting Clarisse to walk in, but instead it was Nurse Dera.

‘Jasek, I must speak with you.’

‘What is it?’

‘It’s Clarisse…you must not get her hopes up.’ She said gravely.

‘How do you mean?’ Jasek asked innocently.

‘She is in love with you, you mustn’t lead her into believing there is a chance between the two of you.’

‘She does not love me-’

‘Jasek…’ The nurse said with a gentle shake of the head. ‘She does…she loves you deeply…it would break her heart-’

‘I understand…’ Jasek nodded.

Dera nodded and turned to leave as Clarisse walked in again, with a gentle tap on her shoulder, the head nurse walked out of the room.

‘I’ll be off home now…’ Clarisse said. ‘I guess this is the last time we’ll meet before you go home…just came to say goodbye and…ask if we could keep in touch after you leave this place?’

Jasek sighed; looking deflated he could feel his hearts breaking.

‘That won’t be possible.’ He said, with his head bowed.

‘Why not?’ Clarisse replied, Jasek noticing the disappointment in her eyes.

‘I should have told you from the beginning Clarisse.’

‘Told me what?’

‘I didn’t come here to get better Clarisse…I came here to die…’ Jasek said, not wanting to look her in the eyes.

Clarisse stood motionless, unsure what to make of the news.

‘I should have explained…how can I put this.‘ Jasek paused nervously. ‘We Descarians believe that…life…this plain is merely a distraction…from what we truly are…we come here to this life as a break from our real lives in the other plain to experience a difference perspective- a break from reality if you will and when our time is up, we do not die, we simply return home…and the family and friends we gain on this plain will be on the other side to welcome us…that is why we call it our homecoming…I should have told you, I’m sorry.’ Jasek could only watch helplessly as tears of a silent cry began to fall down Clarisse’s face, she was stunned, too taken aback to speak.

‘But the pictures-you said they would all be at the homecoming to welcome you-

‘My parents died five months ago…Henagar and his family passed away three years ago in a shuttle accident…my entire family…they are all dead…and eventually I will join them…my illness is incurable, I will eventually die…I’d just rather die my own way than that way…’

‘I didn’t know…’ she said finally, crashing down to her knees. ‘I didn’t know.’

‘I should have told you.’ Jasek replied, he too trembling with tears as he joined her on bended knees and hugged her. ‘I should have told you.’

‘And you were going to leave without saying goodbye?’ She asked him in a whisper as the pair embraced.

‘I didn’t know how.’

‘I don’t want you to go…’

‘We do not have a say in the matter…it is simply my time…’

‘But I love you.’ She said in a whisper as she broke the embrace.

‘And I love you, I loved you’ Jasek smiled proudly,’ he‘d always fantasized about the moment he would tell her he loved her, he just never figured it would be this painful.‘ if only we’d known each other longer than two weeks…I might have built up the courage to tell you my feelings.’

‘But now its too late…’ Clarisse sighed and stood to her feet.

‘Yes.’ He said, bowing his head in defeat.

‘It’s just too late…’ Clarisse shook her head and wiped away her tears before running out of the room, leaving a defeated Jasek on his knees.

It was the day of the homecoming, and Jasek’s room was now fully void of his belongings, cleaned down and ready for the next patient. But the mood of eagered anticipation had long subdued since his last encounter with Clarisse, the scenario did not pan out as he would have liked. But now there was nothing he could do, his final day had arrived.

‘Are you ready?’ Smiled Nurse Dera.

‘Yes.’ Jasek nodded in return.

Dressed in the green ceremonial robes that signified a return to the “Evergreen”, Jasek took in a deep breath and approached the precession ready to perform the assisted ritual suicide. The two priests bowed to him and encouraged him to step forward to the edge of the lake. Jasek stared out into the open, it wasn’t long now that he would be reunited with his friends and family who’d long since passed on, the ceremony was simple enough, all he had to do was walk along the bottom of the lack to the other side and when he emerged he would be at the evergreen with his family to celebrate his homecoming.

‘Goodbye Jasek,’ Nurse Dera said with a look of sadness. ‘I’ll miss you.’

Jasek could not bear to answer but instead nodded and signaled to the priests he was ready for the submersion. The two men flanking the Descarian on either side each holding his head slowly began to lead him into the lake as one of them began reading him a prayer of safe journey, when suddenly a voice for nowhere yelled asking for them to stop.

Jasek turned around and was pleased to see Clarisse standing at the back with tears running down her cheek.

‘Clarisse!’ Jasek yelled and broke away from the priests to hug the Terran who could not restraint herself and kissed him passionately on the lips.

‘I love you.’ She said softly.

‘I love you too.’

‘I could not let you leave without saying goodbye.’

‘I’m glad you came.’ Jasek said sincerely and reluctantly broke their embrace to return to the priests. ‘But I cannot stay here any longer.’

Once again, the priests took hold of his hands and began leading him into the lake once again when suddenly-

‘PROMISE ME ONE THING!’ Clarisse shouted at the top of her voice.

‘Promise you what?’

‘Promise me…’ Clarisse said, finding it difficult to allow the words to leave her lips. ‘Promise me you’ll be there to welcome me for my homecoming.’ Jasek smiled and bowed to the Terran

‘It would be an honor.’ Jasek nodded and turned his attention to his faith.

The two Priest slowly led him into the lake, just far enough for him to be fully submerged, they gently held him down in position, but Jasek did not struggle, he had no intentions to do so, he simply held his head down but held his breath merely as a formality. When he could no longer hold it, his instincts to struggle kicked as he began fighting half heartedly against the priests who continued to do their job as they held him down. Slowly it began to happen, Jasek could feel his spirit tear away from his body and with it came an illusion, down at the bottom of the lake, he could see something- no, someone…it looked exactly like the smiling face of Lopilo encouraging him to come to her. As the struggle continued, Jasek’s will to fight began to wane he was too tired to struggle, not that he wanted to in the first place. The more the fight in him lessened the strong the image at the bottom of the lake grew; it was Lopilo calling to him. Jasek smiled inwardly and desperately tried break away from the shackles of this plain. It had been no more than a few seconds since the image of Lopilo appeared did the fight drain completely from Jasek; effectively he was all but gone. The image in the lake could only grow stronger as not on Lopilo was urging him to make his way to the bottom of the lake but now Henagar, Condera, his father and mother had all joined Lopilo in urging him to complete the journey to the bottom of the lake. Jasek could feel his body losing its last remaining remnants of strength, but at the same time his spirit grew stronger, rushing at warp speed towards the bottom of the lake and as he arrived, the world surrounding him faded to blue and then into nothingness. What felt like centuries or possibly moments later, Jasek awoke to find himself on a beach of golden sands and crystal waters. Jasek slowly rose to his feet only to see the smiling face of Lopilo building herself a sand castle on the beach. Jasek looked around and saw it, it was the cabin and there they were, everyone of them, friends of old, families long thought gone were there gathered for him, each one with a smiling face ready to greet him. Henagar strolled up to his brother and took a long hard look at him, for a few moments neither moved, before Henagar wrapped his arms around Jasek in a brotherly Embrace.

‘Come…they are all waiting to greet you.’ Henagar said with a smile as he led the way up the beach.

Jasek stood back a moment to absorb all of this, it was then it occurred to him, he wasn’t dead, he was home.

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